3 Signs Of An Underactive Pituitary Gland
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized endocrine gland located at the base of your brain. An essential part of your endocrine system, it is responsible for the production and regulation of hormones that are involved in temperature regulation, lactation, metabolism, reproduction and more.
Any number of outside forces, such as a head injury, infection or stroke, can disrupt the pituitary's performance and set off a chain reaction of hormonal issues.
In many cases, doctors don't know what causes the pituitary gland to malfunction, but those who suffer from an underperforming pituitary usually have at least 1 of the following 3 symptoms in common. If you experience any of these signs, it may be time for a doctor visit.
1. Your Muscle Mass Suddenly Decreased
If you lead a fairly active lifestyle, your muscle mass should remain the same with little fluctuation. With this in mind, if you experience rapidly shrinking muscles and there have been no changes to your daily routine, you may have a growth hormone deficiency caused by an underactive pituitary gland. Other symptoms of this deficiency include low energy, anxiety and decreased stamina.
2. You're Cold All the Time
There are plenty of people who hate cold weather, but then there are some who are ultra-sensitive to cold temperatures to the point of being in physical pain. If you find yourself in that latter group after years of being unaffected by cooler temperatures, you may have a TSH deficiency. If your body doesn't produce enough of this thyroid-stimulating hormone, you can also experience sudden weight gain, severe constipation, dry skin and more.
3. You Have Chronically Low Blood Pressure
More common than previously believed, an adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiency (ACTH for short) is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms can be so widespread. Sufferers report everything from low blood sugar and low blood pressure to fatigue, weight loss, depression and an overall sense of weakness. Of course, such symptoms can be associated with a whole host of other conditions, which is why this deficiency is all-too-often overlooked and undiagnosed.
It's important to note that the signs of a pituitary problem can vary from person to person. Even the onset of symptoms can be varied. For instance, they can gradually happen over a long period of time or strike right away.
Since the pituitary gland regulates a variety of hormones, it's important to pay close attention to the symptoms experienced as they reveal which hormone is being affected.
If you notice any of the signs above, you should contact your primary care physician to address any concerns. In the meantime, make sure you're doing everything you can to keep your pituitary running at peak performance.